Sunday, February 01, 2009


BUS STORY # 118 (Out Of Control)


Someone in the back of the bus has taken a phone call, and he is not happy.

“What the ____! Who the ____ does he think he _______is? You better _______ straighten him out before I get home or I’ll put my _______foot up his _______ ___!”

He has a loud, booming voice. Folks sitting in the seats facing the aisles – even the ones in the front of the bus -- turn and look back. I’d like to look myself.

“No _______way! I’m the head of this _______ house, not him! I’m the head of the house! If he doesn’t straighten up, I’m gonna make that call, y’understand? I’m _______ gonna make that _______ call!”

I’ve conjured up a picture of him from his voice: lean and tall, clean-shaven, baseball cap, T-shirt with something written on it, and jeans. Probably boots of some kind.

A few more exchanges like the preceding ones set the scenario: the “head of the house” here on the bus has been called by his wife about her son by a previous marriage who, besides, misbehaving, is using his father as leverage. It’s easy to see the level of anger here is pretty much proportional to the amount of control our rider doesn’t have.

The bus has pulled away from the Wyoming at Central stop when the driver pulls over again. He looks back, gets out of his seat, starts walking toward the back.

“Oh great! Now I’m about to get kicked off the _______ bus! I’ll call you back.”

I can hear the driver when he gets to the back of the bus.

“I’m not gonna kick you off the bus, but you’ve gotta tone it down and clean it up.”

“I’m sorry, driver, but I’ve got some insane people on the other end of this line, and I’m -- ”

“I don’t want to hear it. Just keep it to yourself.”

He walks back to the driver’s seat. There is silence all the way to the next stop, my stop, at Lomas. I exit the middle door. A rider exits the rear door, cell phone to his ear. I recognize the voice. Then I see that I got the jeans and boots right. The T-shirt, too, except it is brown, and I suspect it doesn’t have any writing on the front. He’s maybe five-seven – a banty rooster. He’s got a Fidel Castro cap and beard.

“I’d like to report an out of control 12-year-old.”

We’re both walking fast to the corner.

“Well, can you connect me, then? I’m on a cell phone.”

He reaches the corner and hits the crosswalk button for crossing Wyoming.

“No, sir, we’re not married, but -- ”

I hit the crosswalk button for crossing Lomas. The light turns and my co-rider moves out quickly. I watch him cross, cell phone pushed to his ear, oblivious to the traffic which, fortunately, is paying attention to the lights and the pedestrians.

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